For three decades, SC Villa versus Express has been the biggest match in Ugandan football.
But ahead of their Fufa Super League (FSL) showdown this afternoon, the fixture is a mere sideshow as far as the destination of the title is concerned and, in many ways, it clearly reflects of the dire times of domestic football.
You could be forgiven to forget that Express won the league in 2012 because the current side is a shadow of its old self. With just seven games left, Express are just two points above the drop zone and could find themselves in a relegation dogfight if they lose and other results don’t go their way.
On the other hand, Villa have few incentives to win as they comfortably sit mid-table with the title seemingly out of sight. Having been ejected from the Ugandan Cup by Bidco on Tuesday, the only thing most Villa fans will be rooting for is maximum effort against their bitter rivals.
Express too bowed out of the tournament following a dramatic penalty shoot-out loss to Hope-Soana. With little at stake to get fans’ adrenaline running high, this historic rivalry might not be the marquee attraction of the past, but the desire to win remains.
When the two teams met in the first round, Villa walked away from Wankulukuku with three points but this won’t be an easy game, as demonstrated in shock loss to Bidco. But for the Red Eagles, a 12th loss in 24 games would be another disgraceful mark on a forgettable season that would be made all the more worse if Proline won in Masaka and leapfrogs them.
While diehard fans of both clubs may hardly care about the result, they will still closely follow the result based on the contentious history between the two most successful clubs in Ugandan football. In the other games, Kira Young host leaders Vipers in what fans have dubbed as the ‘Buikwe derby.’
Vipers are smarting from a 0-1 loss to URA in the Uganda Cupo and will be eager to pick up the pieces as they chase their second league title. Morley Byekwaso’s SC Victoria University (SCVU) could pile more pressure on Vipers with victory over relegation battlers CRO, who are not yet sure of their place in FSL for next term.
SCVU are just two points behind second-placed URA, who will host Soana in Lugazi. Elsewhere, it is hotting up at the bottom of the table with Masaka LC entertaining Proline just after two weeks after the two sides met at Masaka recreation grounds.
Meanwhile, Simba will take on Police while Bidco, fresh from making it to Uganda Cup quarterfinals, host Bright Stars at Kakindu.
SC Villa v Express, Nakivubo
SCVU v CRO, Nambole
Vipers v Kira Young, Buikwe URA v Soana, Lugazi
Masaka v Proline, Masaka Simba v Police, Bombo
Bidco v Bright Stars, Kakindu
Source : The Observer